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The Golden Minute

“Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits…” Daniel 3:1a

Why do 60 seconds make a minute? Why does an hour have 60 minutes? After all, there are no natural reasons for this. A year is a natural time measurement, based on the sun’s position in the sky. Well, believe it or not, there may be connection between the length of an hour and the golden statue built by King Nebuchadnezzar that Daniel and his friends refused to worship.

Engraving on an eye stone of onyx with an inscription of Nebuchadnezzar IIKing Nebuchadnezzar’s statue was 60 cubits high and 6 cubits wide. This is probably because the Babylonians used a counting system built on the number 60 and many of their buildings are measured in units or sub units of 60. By 1300 B.C. the Egyptians had divided the day into 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. Under this system, the 12 daylight hours were longer in the summer than winter daylight hours. But this system worked reasonably well, since Egyptians kept track of the time with sundials. It is believed that this system, along with the base-60 method of counting was borrowed from the Babylonians. The designation of 12 hours appears to have come from the Babylonians, since 12 is a factor of 60. The system passed on to the Greeks, who gave it to the Romans. It is thought that by the 13th century A.D., when accurate mechanical clocks were invented, the hour was finally divided into 60 minutes.

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That our method of accounting time goes back over 3,000 years illustrates that ancient man was no less advanced than modern man. Over 3,000 years ago, man was smart enough to invent a time accounting system that serves us well today.

Dear Father, help me use the time You give me to Your glory. Amen.
Odyssey, Fall 1998, “Inventing Time, How on earth did we get a 60-minute hour?” p. 6. Illustration: Engraving on an eye stone of onyx with an inscription of Nebuchadnezzar II. (PD)

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Written by Creation Moments

In a world bombarded by false messages about origins, Creation Moments provides accurate, up-to-date information about new discoveries in God's creation and how they relate to the Bible. The two minute "Creation Moments" Christian radio broadcast with host Paul Taylor is heard around the world on over 1,300 stations. Copyright 2014 by Creation Moments, Inc., P.O.Box 839, Foley, MN, 56329.

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